Clean Antique Wood

Learn How To Clean Antique Wood Like a Pro

We know that you cherish your beautiful furniture pieces. Do you know who else loves them? Dirt, grime, and mildew!Dust and dirt can do so much damage to your valuable furniture.A cleaning process can give an old piece of wood furniture a new look in your home. Also, you can maintain its durability for years to come. If you want to learn how to clean antique wood, then you found the perfect guide. This guide will walk you through cleaning and polishing methods to maintain and protect your furniture well.

Clean Antique Wood

How To Clean Antique Wood

There are three ways to clean old furniture. Before you begin cleaning, take off any removable non-wood pieces from the wooden work. It includes non-structural hardware and cushions.

Method 1:  Cleaning antique wood furniture with mineral spirits

  • Step 1: First of all, do a patch test. This test is to find out if the mineral spirit will damage your furniture. Usually, mineral spirits do not damage most wood furniture. Still, it is better not to take any unnecessary risks. So dab some mineral spirit on a cotton ball and apply it to a hidden spot of your wood furniture. Then see if the mineral spirit caused any damage to the area. If it did not cause any harm, that is a good sign for you to move on to the next step.
  • Step 2: Next, you can clean the entire surface of your wood furniture. So grab a clean cloth and soak it with mineral spirit and wipe down the wood.  Make sure to choose a material that is not dripping. Keep moving it all over the furniture surface to clean it well. Mineral spirits are excellent at cleaning old dirty wooden furniture. So work gently with cleaning to get rid of dirt and stains on the surface of the wood.
  • Step 3: Next, you need to grab a clean piece of cloth and a bowl of clean water. You are going to start rinsing the surface now. So soak the fabric with clean water and rinse the furniture surface. Then, use another lint-free cloth dampened with water to clean it for the second time. Wipe down the wooden furniture gently to rinse off any leftover mineral spirits.
  • Step 4: Finally, dry the furniture thoroughly with a clean cloth. This step makes sure to get rid of any excess water or moisture left on the furniture surface.

Method 2: Cleaning antique furniture with Murphy’s oil soap

You will need Murphy’s oil soap and clean water.

First of all, you have to dilute the soap with water. Remember to use warm water. Murphy’s oil does not work well with cold water. So add a  quarter cup of Murphy’s oil to a gallon of warm water.

However, change up the measurements if you have particularly stubborn stains to clean up. In that case, you will need to add more of Murphy’s. So raise the amount of soap you use to half a cup.

As the final step, clean the surface dry using a clean fabric. That way, you can make sure to get rid of any excess soap and water.

oil soap

Method 3: How to clean old wood furniture naturally- cleaning old wood furniture with vinegar

You can use vinegar as a cleaner, or you can use it to polish the furniture.

  • Clean with vinegar

To make the cleaner, you will need white vinegar and clean water,

First, dilute the white vinegar with water. Mix three tablespoons of vinegar for every cup of freshwater.

Additionally, you can combine a little bit of mildly scented dish soap with the mixture. That way, you can cover up the smell of vinegar.

Remember to test out the solution before you begin cleaning. You can check if the vinegar mix damages the surface in any way. So apply a small amount of the mixture to the test area. Then dry it with a clean piece of cloth.

If you do not see any harmful effects on the test area, then you are good to clean the whole piece.

Grab a soft, clean piece of cheesecloth and spray the mixture onto the cloth. Or you can even dip the fabric in the bowl of solution. Next, try and wring out the towel well so that it is not overly saturated.

If too much liquid gets in contact with the furniture piece, it can cause damage. So note that directly spraying the solution to the furniture is not at all a good idea.

Next, wipe the furniture with a dampened cloth. Try to make circular motions. Rub with the grain to remove any watermarks. Also, make sure to clean the fabric or switch to a fresh one when you see it becomes dirty.

Then, grab a clean, dry piece of cloth and buff out any remaining moisture. Check if there are any stubborn stains that you missed while cleaning. If you do, then use the vinegar solution and go back to buffing. Then wipe to remove the moisture again.

You can use the cleaning mixture to clean indoor and outdoor wood furniture.

  • Polish with vinegar

You will need white vinegar and olive oil to make the polish.

Your first step is to dilute white vinegar with some olive oil. So add one part olive oil to one part vinegar to get the perfect solution. You can also add the secret ingredient of this solution, which is lemon oil or juice. Why add lemon juice? Well, because lemon is effective as a natural cleaning agent. So add a little bit of lemon oil or squeeze in some fresh lemon juice.

Once you add all the ingredients, close the lid and shake well to mix.

If you do not have olive oil, do not worry, we got you covered. You can mix 1/4 cup of fresh lemon juice, 1/8 cup of distilled vinegar, and 1/8 cup flax oil and make a solution.

The vinegar solution will restore moisture to your wood furniture. The mixture is also effective at getting rid of rings from water condensation.

Now your vinegar solution is ready. First, do a patch test on the surface. It would be better to try the mixture in a small section underneath the surface. Apply the solution using a piece of fabric on the test area, then dry it with a clean cloth. If it did not damage the furniture, you are all set to use the mixture.

So go ahead and soak a piece of clean cheesecloth with the mixture. Make sure to take a small amount of the vinegar mixture on the cloth. That way, you can avoid too much liquid sticking to the furniture and causing damage.

Wipe the furniture with a moistened cloth. Make sure to switch to a clean area of the fabric, or a new piece of cloth, when it becomes dirty.

Use a fresh towel to buff the surface in circular motions. If you see any spots that did not clean, use the solution on them and go back to buffing. Do not forget to wipe off moisture to finish the process.

 How To Clean Antique Mahogany Furniture

The vinegar and olive oil mix is good to use to polish antique mahogany furniture. You can also use it to clean old oak furniture.  It works well to remove any stains on the surface.

Alternatively, you can use Oxalic acid to clean oak and mahogany. Woods like oak and mahogany hold a high amount of tannic acid. When iron and moisture contact tannic acid in the wood, it can cause stains. Oxalic acid is excellent at getting rid of such stains without damaging the original color of the wood.

How To Clean Painted Wood Furniture

Unclean-painted wood furniture can ruin the look of the piece. If the dirt remains long enough, it can damage the paint or the wood itself.

For a quick clean, dry dust the surface or use a washcloth and then buff dry. However, a lot of stubborn stains need more than water to completely clean. In that case, what you can do is make a homemade cleaning mixture.

So mix one teaspoon of borax, two tablespoons of vinegar, 1/4 cup of dishwashing detergent, and 1 1/2 cups of water.

Dip a towel into the cleaning solution you made and wring the cloth out until it is almost dry. Then wipe the furniture surface using circular motions. Next, using a cloth soaked in clean water, rinse off the solution.

Lastly, finish off the cleaning process by drying the surface well using a microfiber towel.

Also, remember to do a patch test beforehand if you plan on cleaning painted wood with vinegar. Other than that, try not to use oil-based products that can strip away paint. In that case, liquid waxes containing oil are a no-no, especially when it comes to painted wood.

Wood Furniture

Final thoughts

Now you know how to clean antique wood. Sometimes we forget the importance of cleaning the furniture. If you neglect cleaning, dust and dirt can do so much damage to the valuable pieces. Over time, the wood may lose its original glow and value if left unclean. So make sure to clean the wooden pieces at least twice a year.

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